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Residency forms now required for college tuition, state grant eligibility

SALISBURY — A new online service to determine North Carolina residency for tuition purposes and eligibility for state grants is being implemented at all colleges and universities in the state.

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College began using the new system in May.

With the new system, undergraduate residency determinations are conducted centrally through ncresidency.org. Once the undergraduate service is fully operational, the system will be extended to graduate and professional students.

In 2013, the General Assembly enacted legislation directing the University of North Carolina, the N.C. Community College System and the N.C. State Education Assistance Authority, in consultation with the N.C. Independent Colleges and Universities, to develop a centralized process to determine residency for tuition and state financial aid purposes.

These guidelines were used to develop the service:

  • Increase efficiency with the creation of an online, paperless process.
  • Protect personal information with a secure, encrypted process.
  • Produce accurate, consistent outcomes by using a trusted but validated strategy employing data matches with other state and federal agencies.

Elizabeth McDuffie, executive director of the Education Assistance Authority, the state agency responsible for implementing the service, said the system is user-friendly and ensures consistency.

“The tool is tailored to each student, asking the minimal number of questions to determine residency,” said McDuffie.

All students are now required to complete the new residency determination before submitting applications, and some students are struggling to navigate the new system.

“It is important for students to understand the new process and provide accurate and complete information so that the system can verify their identity and where they live,” said Rebecca Dean, director of student success strategies for Rowan-Cabarrus college.

“Since Rowan-Cabarrus began using RDS in May, we have seen a lot of students leave forms incomplete, and there is no shortcut as the information has to be verified. Unfortunately, if students do not fully complete the form and provide all necessary information, they will be unable to complete their application to the college and successfully register,” said Dean.

The determination service is a third-party system that is required statewide, so schools are limited in how they can assist students if there is a problem.

“Apply now, apply early and make sure you complete the entire process so you will have time to resolve any questions,” said Dean.

The system often requires information about not just the student but about parents. Student and parent Social Security numbers, taxpayer identification numbers, alien registration numbers or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service numbers are required.

Because the system cross-references with other systems such as the Division of Motor Vehicles and the Department of the Treasury to verify in-state status, parent or student vehicle registration and driver’s license information as well as tax returns may also be required.

For more information about the Residency Determination Service, visit https://ncresidency.org/residencyInfo/.

For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, visit www.rccc.edu/apply/ or call 704-216-7222.

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